McGeehan leaves it late to snatch Turkey Run victory
Derek McGeehan snatched a last-gasp victory on the final rally of the year, the Ballykelly-based MJM Turkey Run.
Driving his WRC Mini, the Draperstown engineer and rally preparation specialist grabbed the win from under the nose of one his customers, Joe McGonigle, on the last of the six stages of the Maiden City Club event around the former Shackleton RAF airfield.
McGonigle had taken over the lead in his R5 Skoda Fabia on stage three after Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity was forced to retire his WRC Ford Fiesta with a broken rear driveshaft.
McGarrity was fastest on the first stage and held his lead despite the driveshaft breaking during stage two. The breakage damaged the differential, he explained, which meant his team were unable to replace the driveshaft and he had to wirhdraw.
Muff filling station owner McGonigle, who won another Maiden City rally, the Lark in the Park, earlier in the year, led through stages four and five but was overhauled by the more powerful Mini on stage six, McGeehan and co-driver Martin McNicholl winning by 1.2 seconds.
It proved a triple success for the McGeehan team with Derek's brother Alan taking third place in another WRC Mini.
Richard Tannahill, stepping up from his R2 Peugeot to drive an R5 Citroen DS3 for the first time, finished fourth ahead of the WRC Fiesta of Martin Cairns with John Bradley the top two-wheel-drive contender in sixth in his Ford Escort.
Marty Gallagher was sixth in his R2 Peugeot ahead of the Toyota of Jonny Morrow and multi-motorbike TT winner Michael Dunlop who again showed his talent on four wheels in ninth place in his Mk2 Escort, third in the rear-wheel-drive division.
Rodney White completed the top 10 in his Talbot Sunbeam.
Meanwhile, Motorsport Ireland, the governing body south of the border, has called a meeting of all motor clubs in the Republic to discuss the on-going impasse in the public liability insurance issue which has forced the first four events in the new year calendar to be postponed.
The meeting will take place in Tullamore on Thursday evening, with a resolution urgently required ahead of the the Galway International in early February.